MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said he believes Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon was lying about his actions involving the release order for rapist-slay convict Antonio Sanchez.
During the second Senate hearing on the implementation of a law increasing good conduct time allowance for prisoners, Lacson pointed out that Faeldon’s statements regarding his involvement in the now canceled release of Sanchez was confusing and inconsistent.
“Obviously he is lying or he was lying yesterday. He is lying today… There is no logical conclusion except that he is not telling the truth,” Lacson told reporters.
Lacson quizzed Faeldon on why he signed a memorandum that effectively approved Sanchez’s release order and canceled the same on August 20.
“Before you signed the document on August 20 you also did not believe he was entitled to GCTA?” Lacson asked Faeldon.
Faeldon said he has always been against Sanchez’s release because the latter should not have been given good conduct credits for several violations while in prison, among them the building of a “kubol” inside the New Bilibid Prison which was only demolished in 2015.
If Faeldon knew that Sanchez was not deserving of good conduct credits, Lacson said the BuCor should not have signed the release order in the first place.
“There’s some inconsistency here. If I were in your position, kapag ako ‘di ako naniniwala (if I don't believe), I will not sign,” Lacson said, in another grilling of Faeldon, who he had earlier accused of corruption as customs chief.
Faeldon insisted he was merely following Republic Act 10592, which increased the GCTA of prisoners, as well as its implementing rules and regulations, when he signed Sanchez’s release document.
The law was expanded in 2013 to cover a prisoner's detention time. The Supreme Court also ruled in favor of its retroactive application.
He said while he was against Sanchez’s release, BuCor’s legal advisers “continuously reminded me there is no legal basis to stop the release of Mr. Sanchez.”
“That’s why my action to stop his release is against the legal position of the BuCor,” he said.
MEETING WITH SANCHEZ FAMILY
Lacson and Sen. Richard Gordon, who heads the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, were also confounded by Faeldon’s actions before, during, and after the time he supposedly recalled Sanchez’s release order.
Faeldon said he signed the release order between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. on August 20 and recalled it at 1:30 p.m.
“Bakit ang bilis ng change of mind? (Why the sudden change of mind?)” Lacson asked Faeldon.
“After I signed it, even though the documents are complete, I continued to ponder what is my legal basis to stop it,” Faeldon replied.
“Kung nag-sign ako and naisip ko, mukhang mali (and thought it was wrong), I’ll just crumple the paper,” Lacson said. “To sign and then recall, it doesn’t make sense to me.”
On the evening of the same day, the Sanchez family went to Faeldon’s office upon learning from an anonymous text message that the former Calauan, Laguna mayor was set for release.
Faeldon said he only granted the Sanchez family an audience the following day, Aug. 21.
According to Sanchez's wife, Elvira, Faeldon assured the family that Sanchez would be released in two months if he is qualified to benefit from the GCTA law.
Gordon said he is puzzled why Faeldon did not tell the Sanchez family about his decision to cancel the release order for the former mayor.
On the evening of Aug. 21, Sen. Bong Go called Faeldon to tell him of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to stop Sanchez’s release.
The following day, Aug. 22, a Palace official also called Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, whose department oversees the BuCor, to ensure that Sanchez would remain behind bars.
Guevarra then relayed this order to Faeldon.
Both Go and Guevarra said Faeldon told them he would comply with the order, but the latter did not inform them of his move to cancel the release order.